Antonio Vivaldi: Sacred Vocal Works

Vivaldi Hardbound

Vivaldi’s sacred vocal music comprises over fifty works reckoned authentic. Many of them, perhaps most, were written for the Coro of the Pio Ospedale della Pietà, the Venetian institution for foundlings with which the composer was associated for much of his working life, during periods when no maestro di coro was available for the task; such periods occurred in 1713-19 (between the departure of maestro Gasparini and the appointment of Carlo Luigi Pietragrua) and 1737-39 (between the departure of maestro Porta and his replacement by Gennaro D’Alessandro). It is important to remember, however, that once Vivaldi’s reputation in this branch of composition was established, he received commissions for sacred vocal music from various other sources, so that it would be a mistake to equate this side of his activity too exclusively with the Pietà.

This corpus presents few problems of performance. The lowest part, for which Vivaldi and his contemporaries commonly employed the catch-all term «Basso», is intended, first, for the instruments of the continuo and, second, for the «ripienists» of the orchestra. The composition of the first group will depend on the availabillty of instruments, the size of the ensemble and acoustic conditions, but performers should be encouraged to vary the familiar combination of a single keyboard instrument plus a solo cello by introducing plucked stringed instruments, additional keyboard instruments and sometimes, perhaps, the double bass. The orchestral instruments, for their part, need not consist merely of additional cellos and double basses but can also admit (in proportion) one or more trombones or bassoons, as recommended in a Venetian treatise contemporary with Vivaldi.

From cues (e.g., «senza organo») in the manuscripts of other sacred vocal works by Vivaldi it seems that organ was preferred to harpsichord as the accompanying keyboard instrument (though it would be foolishly dogmatic to frown on the use of the latter). Accordingly, the editor’s realization of the continuo part is for organ and takes advantage of that instrument’s ability to sustain notes. If a harpsichord – to say nothing of a lute or theorbo – is used, appropriate modifications will be needed. The realization is naturally only a specimen and has deliberately been kept rather simple; it invites elaboration, particularly in recitative. The editorial directions «solo» and «tutti» (in small print) serve to distinguish sections in which only the continuo instruments should play from those in which both the continuo instruments and those of the orchestra are required. The rule of thumb that we have applied is that whenever the violas play, the orchestral instruments should be added to the bass. In the da capo arias the singer should employ judicious ornamentation, particularly in the repeat of the first section. The series was completed in 2009.

Critical Editions available

Beatus vir, RV 597
Edited by Michael Talbot (2003)

Beatus vir, RV 598
Edited by Michael Talbot (2003)

Beatus vir, RV 795
Edited by Michael Talbot (1995)

Confitebor tibi Domine, RV 596
Edited by Michael Talbot (1995)

Credidi propter quod locutus sum, RV 605
Edited by Michael Talbot (1994)

Credo, RV 591
Edited by Michael Talbot (2003)

Deus tuorum militum, RV 612
Edited by Denis Arnold (1986)

Dixit Dominus, RV 594
Edited by Paul Everett (2003)

Dixit Dominus, RV 595
Edited by Michael Talbot (1993)

Dixit Dominus, RV 807
Edited by Michael Talbot (2006)

Domine ad adjuvandum me festina, RV 593
Edited by Michael Talbot (1995)

Gaude, Mater Ecclesia, RV 613
Edited by Denis Arnold (1984)

Gloria, RV 589
Edited by Michael Talbot (2002)

In exitu Israel, RV 604
Edited by Michael Talbot (1990)

Introduzioni, RV 635, 636, 637, 638, 640, 641, 642
Edited by Michael Talbot (1988)
Ascenda laeta, RV 635
Canta in prato, ride in fronte, RV 636
Cur sagittas, cur tela, cur faces, RV 637
Filia mestae Jerusalem, RV 638
Longe mala, umbrae, terrores, RV 640
Non in pratis aut in hortis, RV 641
Ostro picta, armata spina, RV 642

Jubilate, o amoeni chori, RV 639/639a | Gloria, RV 588
Edited by Michael Talbot (1990)

Juditha triumphans, RV 644
Edited by Michael Talbot (2008)

Kyrie, RV 587
Edited by Paul Everett (2002)

Laetatus sum, RV 607
Edited by Michael Talbot (1991)

Lauda Jerusalem, RV 609
Edited by Michael Talbot (2004)

Laudate Dominum omnes gentes, RV 606
Edited by Michael Talbot (1990)

Laudate pueri Dominum, RV 600
Edited by Michael Talbot and Denis Arnold (1988)

Laudate pueri Dominum, RV 601
Edited by Michael Talbot (2003)

Laudate pueri Dominum, RV 602/602a
Edited by Michael Talbot (1995)

Magnificat, RV 610-611
Edited by Michael Talbot (1999)

Mottetti, RV 623, 625, 626, 627, 629, 630, 631, 632, 633, 634
Edited by Paul Everett and Michael Talbot (1994)
Canta in prato, ride in monte, RV 623
Clarae stellae, scintillate, RV 625
In furore iustissimae irae, RV 626
In turbato mare irato, RV 627
Longe mala, umbrae, terrores, RV 629
Nulla in munda pax sincera, RV 630
O qui coeli terraeque serenitas, RV 631
Sum in medio tempestatum, RV 632
Vestro Principi divino, RV 633
Vos aurae per montes, RV 634

Nisi Dominus, RV 608
Edited by Michael Talbot (2004)

Nisi Dominus, RV 803
Edited by Michael Talbot (2004)

Salve Regina, RV 616
Edited by Michael Talbot (2004)

Salve Regina, RV 617
Edited by Michael Talbot (1990)

Salve Regina, RV 618
Edited by Michael Talbot (1995)

Sanctorum meritis, RV 620
Edited by Denis Arnold (1984)

Stabat Mater, RV 621
Edited by Paul Everett (1998)

Vos invito, barbarae faces, RV 811
Edited by Michael Talbot (2009)